The Class That Changed My Life This Semester

Since I’ve come to college, out of my two semesters here I have taken two classes that completely changed me. I think instances like that are rare, and for the most part, people pick classes to take for the GE requirements or it’s required for their major. You can like that class, sure, and there are certainly some classes you take that you just detest (which I’ve also experienced this and last semester). However, finding a class that makes you excited to get up and go, a class that changes how you think about a subject and gives you a new passion you never thought you’d have, those kinds of classes are few and far between. It happened this semester for me when I took Intro to Creative Writing.

It probably helped that I was really eager to take the class, and knew that it was something I definitely wanted to learn about more. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with creative writing or have nearly as much excitement about the subject as I do now, though. In addition to the class teaching me how to be a better writer, it taught me other things about art, life, and the world that I never knew before (as cheesy as that sounds).

Intro to Creative Writing taught me how to be a better observer. In the beginning of the semester, we talked about a term called “whatch”, which is a word that an author created to describe how a writer must really observe something to see and understand it fully. It adds a new lens to looking at something simple, like someone sitting on a park bench or a couple eating dinner together. So often, we merely look at things and then our minds jumps to something else, and we never truly stop to fully observe life’s little encounters. Over the course of the semester, we read short creative nonfiction pieces of seemingly everyday events that evoked so much emotion. I’m serious. There were multiple times in class where I was close to tears after reading little pieces about two people in a car eating bread, or a married couple making a trip to see the solar eclipse. It was crazy to me that stories about things I never thought would be necessary to write a story about could affect me so much.

This, in turn, is the most important thing that Intro to Creative Writing taught me. It taught me how important it is for us to share our stories of life and how it is to live now. Or else, someone else will tell them for us. Creative writing is essentially storytelling, and it’s a form of art. We are our stories; the stories that are weird and hilarious and devastating, and all of these small stories make up who we are. Creative writing is engaging with the world that we can’t see, but feel, and it effects all of us differently because we can all relate to it in different ways from our own experiences. Because we can all be so affected by it, it can teach us empathy for the world and for others. It has given me this new lens to see things with, and has helped me learn and understand things better, and I really believe that this class has made me a more empathetic person. When we can observe something that is meaningful and share it with others, we are making art, and that’s important. With the practice of creative writing, I think we can all become better at listening and understanding, and better people.